Strangers No Longer
December 2021
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SNL YEAR IN REVIEW - THANK YOUR FOR YOUR SUPPORT
The end of 2021 is upon us. For Strangers No Longer it has been a year of challenges but also of progress. With President Biden taking office, we had hoped to see better opportunities for immigrants here in Michigan and for migrants at our southern border but unfortunately, this has not happened.  

Despite this, we have expanded our organization so that we can have more influence with local, state, and national government and, of course, to better help immigrants in our area survive and thrive in Michigan.

Although we were not able to accomplish everything we hoped for, we should take a moment to reflect on what we were able to accomplish:

  • Formed a Rapid Response team which has been able to create relationships with legislators in Michigan and with U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.
  • Started seven new Circles of Support among immigrant women and led by immigrant women. These leaders have also become active in our Board.
  • With grants from a partnership with Alianza Americas, we have been able to work with Hispanic ministers in dioceses throughout Michigan to reach out to Hispanic farm workers and essential workers to educate people about COVID and COVID vaccines.
  • Two Circles of Support raised money for and continue to support two shelters in Mexico that serve migrants working their way north.
  • Conducted surveys in our parishes to determine views on immigration and immigrants.
  • Continued to provide direct support to immigrants in our area in need.

Many of our Circles of Support took responsibility for raising an average of $800 each as investment in the organization -- so we could do all this work. Plans area afoot for a grassroots fundraising campaign culminating in a Banquet on April 24 (pending COVID). We cannot do this work without investments!!! 

With your ongoing support, we see 2022 as a year of community -- with newly-arrived immigrants, with our pastors, with more members in our parishes, with other civic and elected officials -- all responding to Pope Francis' hopes that we welcome, support, promote and integrate immigrant brothers and sisters with all their gifts and spirit.
IMMIGRANT CIRCLES BRING ABUNDANT LIFE TO SNL
Is it possible that Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) can be experienced by immigrant women despite their immigration status? It seems that this is possible! As I have previously affirmed, the women’s circles of support are spaces where women can share their lived experiences, pray on them, and make some commitments for a change in their lives and in the lives of other immigrants.

Currently, approximately 49 immigrant women are participating in and leading seven circles of support . Members of the circles Mujeres Bajo la Protección de Dios, Mujeres Portadoras de Luz, and Mujeres de Fe y Esperanza are from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Monroe, Lincoln Park, Pontiac, and recently a woman from Indiana joined one of the circles. A circle of women is being formed from the family of parishes of St. Andre Bessette and Ss. Andrew and Benedict. Recently, three circles of support were formed in Traverse City. Strangers No Longer is expanding!

(Editor's note: as an expression of growing collaboration, four members of the Immigrant Women's Circle are now members of the Board of Directors of Strangers No Longer. We arrange for interpretation for all meetings.) 

DETROIT SISTER JOINS 80 OTHER NUNS OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE
Detroit Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Erin MacDonald, who serves as Campus Minister at UD Mercy, joined more than 80 Catholic Sisters and advocacy partners gathered outside the White House on Dec. 3 to demonstrate their opposition to President Biden’s continuation of Title 42 expulsions.

They say that Title 42 is a racist Trump-era rule with no medical basis inhumanely used to turn away migrants and asylum seekers at the Southern border. 

Sisters of St. Joseph are generous supporters of Strangers No Longer. SNL thanks Sr. Erin for her work.


RAPID RESPONSE TEAM MEETS WITH U.S. SENATORS PETERS AND STABENOW STAFF
On December 8th Strangers No Longer Rapid Response Team had two powerful meetings--first with a member of Senator Gary Peters' staff and then with a member of Senator Debbie Stabenow's staff. The team presented personal stories showing the benefits of immigrants to our communities and then urged both senators to take a strong stance for immigrants in the Build Back Better legislation. 

Our members at the meeting came from all over Michigan -- Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Gaylord, Alma, Lyon Township, Shelby Township, Harper Woods, Detroit, Rochester Hills, Ann Arbor and Detroit. Alianza Americas helped us arrange these meetings. 

We asked both senators to be strong in the Build Back Better legislation to work for a pathway to permanent residency status -- as well as Work permits, protections against deportation, and the ability to travel outside the U.S. for an estimated 7.1 million people over a 10-year period. DACA recipients, TPS holders, essential workers, and agricultural workers would be eligible.

The Rapid Response team will continue to pressure our legislator to respond to immigrant needs. If you would like to join our team please email strangersnolonger11@gmail.com.
IMMIGRANT CIRCLE LEADER SHARES HER SEARCH FOR ASYLUM STORY AT MERCY HIGH SCHOOL
On Monday December 6th, an Immigrant Women Circle of Support leader shared her immigration story with about 50 juniors and seniors at Mercy High School in Farmington, MI. 

Interested in inviting a Strangers No Longer speaker to share their experiences at your parish, school or organization? Email your request to strangersnolonger11@gmail.com.
OUR FACEBOOK PAGE IS NEW AND IMPROVED - CHECK IT OUT!
Our communications team at SNL recently started working with communications specialist Cindy Cruz at Alianza Americas. She is helping us get more disciplined about posting on Facebook. After we acquire more followers, she will help us start a Twitter account and any other social media sites that will help us get our message out. 
Something about Cindy: Cindy Cruz is a Salvadoran journalist living in El Salvador. She has worked for the Salvadoran newspaper Diario El Mundo and the online and printed magazine El Economista Centroamerica. Since September 2020 she has been part of the Alianza Americas communications team. Her work as writer and multimedia manager for the editorial group allowed her to learn first hand about the relationship between economics, politics and migration, in addition to her in-depth work on strategies for supporting the growing multimedia readership.

On a personal note, Cindy says: "...a year ago and after a period of discernment, I made my public promise for life to be a Salesian Cooperator, a vocation received from God and a lay branch founded by St. John Bosco." Cindy works with at risk youth in this role.

Thanks for your help Cindy!

CIRCLE MEMBERS LOOK BACK WITH GRATITUDE AND FORWARD WITH HOPE
During the month of December, each of the Circles of Support is participating in an Appreciative Inquiry. This Inquiry is a series of questions to help members identify life-giving Circle experiences, what they value about their work within the Circle, and their hopes for the Circle and Strangers No Longer in the next few years. 

Strangers No Longer staff, officers and other leaders gathered to participate in this process, and are preparing for the January Circle Leader meeting. On January 8, Circle leaders will analyze where Strangers No Longer is today and plan where we hope to go in 2022.  

Stay tuned for updates on this important work.
SNL AWARDED WITH CATHOLIC FOUNDATION OF MICHIGAN GRANT, FEATURED IN DETROIT CATHOLIC
For the second year in a row, Strangers No Longer received a grant from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. 

This year, the St. Oscar Romero grant will serve to strengthen our Circles of Support of Immigrant women that are coordinated by Sister Martha de la Torre, SMR. Recently, Sr Martha, together with Mujeres Bajo la Protección de Dios Circle leader Daris, and staff member Amy Ketner, attended the annual Catholic Foundation of Michigan banquet and were featured in the Detroit Catholic publication.

CIRCLE OF SUPPORT LIST - COME AND JOIN US!
Below is the list of our Circles of Support which meet monthly. If you are interested in taking action on immigrant rights, please join one of these circles! Contact us at strangersnolonger11@gmail.com
LEARN SPANISH FROM A NATIVE SPANISH SPEAKER
The Circle of Support at Gesu has a parishioner and asylum seeker who has founded a school to teach Spanish. The school offers classes for children and adults. They offer a variety of services including classes for medical professionals to help them converse with their patients, Spanish for business, Spanish for travelers, as well as children’s courses.  

The classes are all taught by native Spanish speakers. Currently all the classes are taught online. 

Carmen Luna, owner
Luna Spanish Center
323-915-8357
SNL has received 501c3 status--Contributions to SNL since July 24, 2020 are now tax deductible.
Please donate whatever you can to support the work of Strangers No Longer. Now, more than ever, our help is needed.
19972 Shrewsbury
Detroit, MI 48221
313-549-0421